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Golden Eagles gear up for the final countdown

by Andrew Hyman-Staff Writer
Thu, Feb 16th 2017 01:00 pm
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr

"The final countdown;" it's both a 1986 power ballad by Swedish rock band Europe and a way to sum up The College at Brockport men's basketball team's season.

With two regular season games to go, the Golden Eagles are in the final stretch before the State University of New York Athletic Conference playoffs begin.

Head Coach Greg Dunne's team is riding high with a three-game win streak that includes a 19-point rout and revenge win against SUNY Geneseo Knights as well as two solid wins at SUNYAC cellar-dweller SUNY New Paltz and playoff-bound SUNY Oneonta.

Brockport (18-5) (13-3) currently sits in second place in the SUNYAC trailing only SUNY Oswego by one conference loss.

With its sights set on claiming the top spot in SUNYAC for the first time since the 2013-2014 season, the green and gold still have some unfinished business to deal with.

Standing in the way of the precious number one seed are defending SUNYAC champ SUNY Cortland Red Dragons and the aforementioned Oswego, that took an at-large bid last year in the NCAA Tournament all the way to the Sweet 16.

This season,  Brockport has only lost three conference games. The opponents? Geneseo, Cortland and Oswego.

"We owe them," junior forward Hamed Shamseldin said.

As mentioned before, Brockport got its revenge against SUNY Geneseo and now it has its sights set on the Lakers and the Big Red.

"We just gotta take care of the little things," senior guard Matthew Smith said. "Just working hard on the defensive end  and offense will take care of itself."

The Golden Eagles tout an aggressive defense that currently ranks fifth in the nation in turnover margin, sixth in the nation in total steals and are tied for 28th in total blocks.

In their previous matchups against the two, Brockport fell in close games that required the team to stage comebacks in the second half only to come up short.

The losses caused Brockport to fall out of the top spot.

But in what has been the main storyline for this team all year: you can beat them but they get right back up.

For a team who has had a season of streaks, no streak would be more important at this stage of the season than what could potentially be a five-game win streak going into the tournament.

Their opponents have important matchups of their own that are worthy of keeping an eye out for. SUNY Oswego Lakers plays at high-scoring Geneseo on Friday. After their matchup with the Golden Eagles, the Red Dragons will play at you guessed it ... Geneseo on Saturday.

I think it's safe to say we may all become temporary Knight fans next weekend ...  temporary.

The Golden Eagles rematch with the Red Dragons is Friday, Feb. 17, at 5:30 p.m. while the likely winner take-all game against the Lakers takes place on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 2 p.m.

It will take a bit more than a 1986 power ballad to get the Golden Eagles the top spot, but they're more than halfway there. And no, they are not living on a prayer.



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